Here’s What ‘Progressive’ Corporate Welfare Looks Like

There appears to be a mistaken belief on the Left that any government action is either done in the interest of “the people” or in the interest of corporations and rich oligarchs. So the naked corporate welfare to Archer Daniels Midlands is called out, as are the sports stadiums being paid for by taxpayers, and of course the banker bailouts as well. (Although, it should be noted that congressional Democrats voted in support of TARP by a rate of three to one, whereas a slight majority of Republicans opposed it.)

In general, however, the Left seems to see tax cuts as corporate welfare while ignoring or outright supporting corporate welfare in many of its guises. The reason is because corporate welfare is rarely sold to the public as a way to help millionaires become billionaires at the taxpayer’s expense. It’s much more insidious than that. Usually, this cronyism comes wrapped in a bill of goods that makes it much easier to swallow.


While the Right yells about how the so-called Obamacare is socialized medicine, it would actually best be described as a corporatist scheme. Or in other words, it’s corporate welfare.

Indeed, if it were some socialist scheme to destroy private enterprise, one would suspect that these companies’ stock prices would plummet before the passing of the bill (March 23, 2010). Here’s what actually happened in the year prior to the bill’s passing for the five largest health insurance companies (the Dow Jones is in red):

Chart from (WLP = Anthem; CI = Cigna; HUM = Humana; AET = Aetna; UNH = United Healthcare)

The average return for these five companies over the year was 72.85 percent, almost twice that of the Dow Jones Industrial average. Cigna lead the group with a 98.5 percent increase. Now, it’s important to understand how stock prices are valued. They are not derived from the value of the assets a company holds, or even what the company has done recently. Instead, they are valued by how much a company is expected to make in the future and how much those future cash flows are worth today.

In other words, investors seemed to be uniformly of the opinion that Obamacare was good for business. And they were right. Here are those same companies’ performances during the last five years:

It shouldn’t be hard to see why an individual mandate and billions in subsidies for people to buy insurance from these companies could increase profits. This is especially true given all of the rate increases. The law’s poor conception has pushed health insurance companies to seek rate increases of 20 to 40 percent for 2016 because the “new customers … turned out to be sicker than expected.”

How about the pharmaceutical companies? In March of 2009, Billy Tauzin, head of PhARMA (the main lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry) was asked whether investors should be worried about the upcoming healthcare reform. He responded as follows:

Think about what this plan does: This plan talks about providing comprehensive health insurance to people who don’t have it. That means to patients who can’t take our medicines because they can’t afford it: $650 billion spent to better insure Americans for the products we make. That ought to be a very optimistic and positive message for everyone [who] is interested in our sector of the economy.

They continued:

Mike Huckman: “… if there is some kind of universal healthcare plan where prescription drugs are more broadly available and they’re available at a cheaper price, [is it possible] that your sector may make up in a higher prescription volume and sales what it might lose on price?”

Billy Tauzin: “Absolutely, think about this: almost half of the prescriptions that get written today go unfilled … primarily because people don’t have adequate insurance.”

The LA Times reported that “Tauzin has morphed into the president’s partner. He has been invited to the White House half a dozen times in recent months.” Tim Carney lists some of the blatant corporate welfare in the bill:

1. Complex drugs known as biologics will receive a 12 year monopoly patent instead of the standard 5 years.

2. The individual mandate will require everyone to buy prescription drug insurance.

3. $196 billion in annual subsidies will be given to poor and middle class Americans to buy health insurance.

4. It preserves the 2003 Medicare Part D stipulation that prohibits Medicare from negotiating down prices for drugs it subsidizes.

5. It continues to prevent re-importation of drugs from Canada.

Given this, it’s not surprising that the drug industry paid $150 million to support Obamacare with things such as this delightful ad:

Cap and Trade

Early in Obama’s presidency (and John McCain’s platform), he pushed for “cap and trade,” a market-driven method to fight global warming. Or more accurately, a corporate welfare-laden plan that wouldn’t do much of anything.

Paul Krugman accused opponents of the bill of committing “treason against the planet,” and most of the left seemed to agree. But to give credit where credit is due, Dennis Kucinich actually hit the nail on the head:

[H.R. 2454, the cap-and-trade bill] is regressive. Free allocations doled out with the intent of blunting the effects on those of modest means will pale in comparison to the allocations that go to polluters and special interests. The financial benefits of offsets and unlimited banking also tend to accrue to large corporations. And of course, the trillion dollar carbon derivatives market will help Wall Street investors. Much of the benefits designed to assist consumers are passed through coal companies and other large corporations, on whom we will rely to pass on the savings.

Indeed, Al Gore makes an interesting observation in some of the bonus material to his documentary An Inconvenient Truth:

A lot of business leaders are changing their positions. New businesses and CEO’s and corporations every week are now joining this new bandwagon saying “we want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.”

Or perhaps they just saw gobs of money available to be made by getting in line with the government. After all, there was the Solyndra scandal, and then GE reduced its tax burden to zero primarily with green energy tax credits. Al Gore has even gotten in on the government dole for green technology and made a fortune. And then of course, there was Ken Lay.

In 1997, then-Enron CEO Lay wrote an op-ed entitled “For Prevention’s Sake: Focus on Climate Solutions.” In it, he strongly advocated the Kyoto Protocol, which would cap carbon emissions worldwide. On August 4, 1997, Lay met with Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and others at the White House to discuss Kyoto. He was an enthusiastic supporter. In 2001, Lay sent an emissary to the Bush administration to lobby for Kyoto. Surprisingly, his old friend turned him down (other interests to appease perhaps?). And of course, the reason Enron wanted cap and trade was the same as Goldman Sachs: to create a new energy market for them to trade in.

Cigarette Cronyism

Interestingly enough, the government actually makes more money off of tobacco than the tobacco industry (about $48 billion to $35 billion). And oddly (and morbidly), smoking probably saves the government money as it just means people die when they’re 50 or 60 instead of when they are 70 or 80 (and thus collect less Social Security and Medicare).

Cigarettes are still the most preventable cause of death around. So many would think the 1998 government lawsuit that lead to the Master Settlement Agreement would be a good thing. Not so fast. Here’s how Tim Carney describes it:

In exchange for settling all the state lawsuits filed in the 1990’s, the companies promised huge annual payments to state governments. To safeguard the new revenue stream, the states passed laws protecting Big Tobacco [the four largest retailers] from smaller competitors. Critics have called the MSA, “one of the most effective and destructive cartels in the history of the Nation.”

Many states are now extremely reliant on this tobacco money making; the government and tobacco industry are two peas in a pod.

What the Master Settlement Agreement did was simply cartelize the market. The settlement banned most advertising, which of course favored the big companies with well-known brands. But it also made sure “… that tobacco companies that were never sued, were never accused of wrongdoing, and in some cases didn’t exist when the alleged deception and wrongdoing occurred, and certainly never participated in the settlement would pay the same damages as the Big Tobacco companies…” The economies of scale for larger companies make these costs easier to swallow.

Small companies could get out of these payments if they “… joined the settlement within 90 days of its completion. …” But of course, there was a catch: “… small companies signing on to the MSA were not allowed to grow by more than 25 percent.”

Indeed, it’s hard to think of a better way to cartelize a market.


Big government is not a hedge against big corporations. Generally speaking, they work together against the consumer. While government intervention in healthcare reform, greenhouse emissions, and tobacco could be attempted in a way that didn’t line the pockets of big corporations, it rarely turns out that way. Entrenched interests are the ones with influence, after all. The best way to reduce the power and influence of corporations is to reduce the power and influence of government. Such a reduction would force firms to compete without special favors on the free market. Price and quality would be what sets companies apart, not their ability to influence politicians.

This commentary originally appeared at and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Democrats Could Be About To Call In This Big-Name Secret Weapon For 2016 Presidential Race

As scandals continue to plague Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the Democrat Party’s only other top-tier candidate – avowed socialist Bernie Sanders – is actually beating her for the first time, according to one poll.

While Clinton still comfortably leads Sanders nationally, many in the party are looking toward other potential candidates, such as Joe Biden, to take on Clinton in the primary.

According to Reuters, another Democrat with experience at the bottom of a presidential ticket might be pegged to take the lead in 2016. One unidentified Democrat insider told Buzzfeed that Al Gore is on the minds of several operatives after his close race against George W. Bush in 2000.

“They’re figuring out if there’s a path financially and politically,” the source said. “It feels more real than it has in the past months.”

As for Gore’s interest, however, BuzzFeed noted its sources were careful not to exaggerate. The 67-year-old former vice president has made no apparent moves indicating his intention to throw his hat in the ring.

Nevertheless, the mere mention of Gore as a possible presidential candidate sparked social media discussion on both sides of the issue.

h/t: Business Insider

Should Al Gore run for president again? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Ouch! Former Top UN Climate Scientist Just Dropped A Devastating Truth Bomb On Al Gore

It hasn’t been a very good few weeks for progressives intent on forcing Americans to believe in the imminent threat of climate change, thus making massive action to combat “global warming” a centerpiece of their political action agenda.

Take a look at the movies. Despite liberal fantasies that Disney’s big-budget flick Tomorrowland — with its preachy-teachy theme that mankind is greedily warming the planet to a self-destructive temperature — would be a hit, the flick has proven to be a miss. That, no doubt, is a huge disappointment for The Daily Beast author Kevin Fallon, who welcomed the message of the $190 million film that he hailed as “George Clooney’s Global Warming Shaming.”

“George Clooney’s new summer blockbuster shames us for our roles in global warming and a potpourri of other earthly calamities.,” wrote Fallon. In truth, however — based on disappointing opening-weekend ticket sales — Tomorrowland is closer to bust than blockbuster. The shame would, therefore, seem to lie more with the Hollywood hotshots and other liberal activists who thought the movie-going public would simply bend over for a science-fiction scolding for their supposed climate-change sins.

Speaking of science and fiction, a new study just issued by a former top climate scientist for the United Nations could send Al Gore and others warning of the perils of global warming into a deep freeze of depression. The Daily Caller reports that the researcher who once took the lead on the U.N’s vaunted climate change advisory has done some critical recalculation — indicating that natural causes, and not man-made pollution, could be responsible for climate variations.

Global temperature change observed over the last hundred years or so is well within the natural variability of the last 8,000 years, according to a new paper by a former Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) lead author.

Dr. Philip Lloyd, a South Africa-based physicist and climate researcher, examined ice core-based temperature data going back 8,000 years to gain perspective on the magnitude of global temperature changes over the 20th Century.

Dr. Lloyd observes that most temperature changes recorded in the 20th century — changes that Gore and others have said prove mankind’s responsibility in heating the planet — are probably not man-caused.

“…’there is a strong likelihood that the major portion was due to natural variations.’”

And then there’s the recently reported failure of the global-warming crowd to persuade young voters that America needs to make drastic changes in how people live, work and play in order to combat climate change. The Harvard University Institute of Politics a few weeks ago released the results of a significant survey of young Americans’ attitudes toward such issues as climate change. This poll of 18-29 year olds found that young adults are no more likely to believe in man-made climate change than older Americans. These findings challenge liberal assumptions about the strength of the millennial generation’s views on planetary warming.

As noted on the website EENews: “The poll found that 20 percent of young adults say climate change is ‘a proven fact’ but that it’s caused by natural forces, not human-induced emissions. An additional 23 percent say it’s ‘a theory that has not yet been proven.’”

The EENews article also quotes a university expert on climate change communication:

“It’s a common misperception that young Americans are more attuned to climate change than their older counterparts, said Ed Maibach, director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication.

“‘Absolutely, that is the perception. But it diverges from reality,’ he said. ‘It’s shocking. It’s absolutely shocking. But every time we’ve looked at it, the answer comes back no.’”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Climate Campaign Hasn’t Worked, But The Fearmongers Keep Trying

Global warming has been the most extensive public relations campaign in history. The 25 years of political and cultural pressure includes most governmental agencies, the public school system, the universities, celebrities, think tanks, and well-funded environmental groups. Yet, despite all the fear-mongering, over the 25-year-long campaign, there’s been no significant change in the public’s concern level over global warming.

Based on new polling data from Gallup, the number of those who “worry greatly” about global warming has actually dropped.

Americans aren’t that stupid after all. We can smell a rat.

It isn’t that we don’t believe the climate changes; it does, has, and always will. But “there is a difference in believing climate change is real and believing that climate change is calamitous.”

In his post at, David Harsanyi continues: “As the shrieking gets louder, Americans become more positive about the quality of their environment and less concerned about the threats.”

25 years of intense political and cultural pressure hasn’t won over the public. But they haven’t stopped trying. With the huge investment of time and money, the fear-mongers keep trying—believing, somehow, they’ll get different results.

On March 6, “a documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire,” Merchants of Doubt, was released. It aimed to smear the reputations of some of the most noted voices on the realist side of the climate change debate. But nobody much wanted to see it. In its opening weekend, reports Merchants of Doubt took in $20,300.

A week later, former Vice President Al Gore, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, called on attendees at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX, to “punish climate change deniers”—which is the tactic being used now.

We’ve seen it in the widely publicized case of Dr. Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who “claims that the variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent Global warming.” The New York Times accused him of being tied to funding from “corporate interests.”

Similar attacks, though less well known, have been made on many others who’ve dared to speak up.

Even Senator Edward Markey and Congressman Raul Grijalva recently joined the crusade. They sent a letter to institutions that employ or support climate change researchers whose work strays from the crisis narrative. The lawmakers warn of potential “conflicts of interest” in cases where evidence or computer modeling emphasizing human causes of climate change are questioned—but no such warning is offered for its supporters.

Somehow, only those who may receive some funding from “fossil fuel companies” are suspect. The anti-fossil fuel movement has been vocal in its funding for those who support its agenda—most notably billionaire Tom Steyer, who promised to fund candidates who oppose the Keystone pipeline and supports lobbying efforts for renewable energy.

In a Desmog post titled “Climate Deniers Double Down on Doubt in the Defense of Willie Soon,” the author states that Soon’s supporters “circled the wagons.”

In a Scientific American story about the Merchants of Doubt, Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies the behavior of climate skeptics, says that “tit-for-tats between mainstream and contrarian researchers tend to raise the profile of skeptical scientists.”

Because of the failure of the manmade climate-crisis campaign to capture the hearts and minds of the average American—who, after all, isn’t that stupid—we can expect the Gore-ordered attacks to continue.

Like the mythical Hydra, when one “skeptic” is cut down, supporters “double down”—two more grow to take its place. The attacks draw attention to the fact that there is another side to the “debate.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Washington Post Fact Checker Calls Out Kerry’s Exaggerated Climate Change Claims


The Washington Post Fact Checker thinks that Secretary of State John Kerry may have a Brian Williams problem when it comes to the facts about his role in the first climate hearings when he was a senator.

Last week, Kerry gave a speech to the Atlantic Council about climate change in which he said the following:

Climate change is an issue that is personal to me, and it has been since the 1980s, when we were organizing the very first climate hearings in the Senate…. Al Gore, Tim Wirth, and a group of us organized the first hearings in the Senate on this, 1988. We heard Jim Hansen sit in front of us and tell us it’s happening now, 1988.

According to the Fact Checker, this wasn’t the first time Kerry had made this claim:

In 2007, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, he asserted, ‘I was privileged to be part of the first hearings that we held in the United States Congress on this subject, with Al Gore, on the Commerce Committee, where we sat together in 1987, 20 years ago.

In 2009, speaking at a Senate hearing at which Gore testified, Kerry said: ‘It’s well known that Al and I have a certain political experience in common. What is less well-known is that we also teamed up on the first-ever Senate hearing on climate change for the Commerce Committee back in 1988.’ (He also said something in yet another Council on Foreign Relations speech in 2009.)

In a 2010 article for The Huffington Post, Kerry wrote: ‘My bottom line: Al Gore and I held the Senate’s first climate change hearings in the Commerce Committee way back in 1988. Since then, precious little progress has been made and ground has been lost internationally, all while the science has grown more compelling.’

And, in a 2014 profile of Kerry in The Boston Globe, Andrew Holland of the American Security Project was quoted as saying Kerry ‘has had a personal interest in climate change going back to when he worked with Al Gore in 1988 on the first climate hearing on Capitol Hill.’ Holland told The Fact Checker that the source of this factoid was Kerry himself.

While Kerry is trying to claim credit for working with Gore on the “very first” Senate or Capitol Hill hearings on climate change, the facts are less clear according to Glenn Kessler, who writes the Fact Checker column.

Kessler tries to pinpoint when the first hearing actually did take place, by going back to the 1970s. He talked with some climate change experts and determined that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on June 23, 1988, that Kerry has repeatedly referred to, was what brought climate change to the attention of the public.

There’s just one problem with Kerry’s statement. Neither he nor Gore were at that hearing because they weren’t on Wirth’s committee.

When questioned about this, Kerry spokesman Alec Gerlach issued the following statement:

Secretary Kerry rightly referred to the work he contributed to in the Senate along with Senators Gore and Wirth beginning in 1988 and 1989 on the issue of climate change, a cause he’s been committed to for his entire career. As the Secretary made clear, these hearings were a turning point: the first to point to new research that made clear the human impact on increasing greenhouse gasses was connected to climate change and a warming planet. No prior congressional discussions had made that critical connection. Without that link to a human impact, the case for this generation to act to curb emissions is dampened, but as Secretary Kerry made clear in his remarks, since those hearings: ‘the science has been screaming at us, warning us, trying to compel us to act.’

That’s all well and good, except that Kerry’s statements repeatedly refer to one, not multiple hearings.

The Pinocchio Test

To be fair to Kerry, he has been involved in the debate about climate change for many years, as a member of the Senate. He can certainly claim to have been passionate about the issue for a long time. While he may have been a junior member of the Senate in the late 1980s, his role on the issue certainly grew as he gained seniority.

But his pattern of exaggeration about the congressional hearings is disturbing. On repeated occasions, he has said or suggested that he and Gore were responsible for the first congressional hearing on climate change–and that he was one of the Senators who participated in the pivotal 1988 Hansen hearing organized by Wirth.

Gore might have bragging rights about organizing one of the first hearings, but not Kerry. Kerry was not even a participant in the most important hearing of that time; he simply spoke at a hearing that took place the following year. And yet, like Brian Williams claiming to have come under fire in Iraq, Kerry has repeatedly placed himself at the center of the action—and the narrative.

He earns Four Pinocchios.

This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom